Post-9/11 War Deployments Increased Crime Among Veterans

58 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020

See all articles by Resul Cesur

Resul Cesur

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Erdal Tekin

American University

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

Several high-profile news stories have linked post-September 11 (9/11) combat service to violent crime among veterans. Nevertheless, there is scant causal evidence for this claim. We exploit the administrative procedures by which U.S. Armed Forces senior commanders conditionally randomly assign active duty servicemen to overseas deployments to estimate the causal impact of modern warfare on crime. Using data from two national surveys and a unified framework, we find consistent evidence that post-9/11 combat service substantially increased the probability of crime commission among veterans. Combat increases the likelihood of property and violent crime, arrest, gang membership, trouble with police, and punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that post-9/11 combat exposure generated approximately $26.7 billion in additional crime costs. Finally, we document descriptive evidence that Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be important mechanisms to explain post-9/11 combat-induced increases in crime.

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Suggested Citation

Cesur, Resul and Sabia, Joseph and Tekin, Erdal, Post-9/11 War Deployments Increased Crime Among Veterans (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27279, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3615475

Resul Cesur (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics ( email )

School of Business
2100 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269
United States

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

Erdal Tekin

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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